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Pleural effusion

Hi ladies

Just wondering if anyone out there has had a pleural effusion and had it drained and a pleurodesis done. I have just had it done and was expecting to be able to breath normally once the fluid was drained. Its now two days after the drain came out still struggling with breathing heart rate resting 30 more than normal and still quite a bit of pain. Just wanted to know how long it took others to recover as I don’t know if this is normal and to just go home from hospital and get some decent rest. Or if there is still a problem and should stay put. My dr wanted me home yesterday but could not tell me why I was still in pain why my breathing had not improved. They have also aimed at 92% oxygen levels but I have never had any breathing or chest problems so I would have thought should be aiming higher Sx

17 Replies

Yes I did... on the right lung only, and although my breathing was much improved it did take a few days to settle down to more normal. No pain though just feeling of congestedness and not 100%.up to speed...

I was in hospital two nights and every now and then the nurses came and made me jiggle and dance around to try and squeeze as much liquid as possible out ( think they were aiming for at least 1 1/2 litres.)

So I hope by now you are released from your drain pipe and maybe a plan to go home. Have they done another X-ray maybe to check ? Presume they did one to start like me to get the extent of it all...?

I think it does leave you with a vulnerability in the pleural cavity. I just had another ct scan which is 6 months from the pleural affusion I had and I was surprised to read that there is some fluid there still

Let me know what the outcome is

Janet 🌈


Hi Janet thanks for your response. I did have x Ray and showed no fluid left but also had talc put in to stick pleural to try and stop happening again so not sure if that causing problems. Sx


Have they x-rayed you after putting the talc in to see if it worked?


I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, really quite quickly when I became ill, because of the adcites, the fluid build up, but I did not know that the fluid in my chest cavity was a separate issue, the pleural effusion, and they did not attempt to drain this.

The Chemo nurse assured me that all would resolve itself with chemo, but a few days after the first Chemo, I was so breathless, I could hardly walk a step, and the fluid was crushing my esophogus and stomach, so I could hardly eat or drink.

They took me back in hospital to feed me via IV and determined that I had several blood clots in my lungs. These were probably there from the start of the cancer, because our cancers makes our blood sticky and it clots easily.

The 24 hour per day IV vitamins and fortified fluids for 7 days, followed by a blood transfusion, Magnesium sachets, oxygen and blood thinner, got me stabilised and ready for the second Chemo round.

Just 5 days later, the fluid build up began to disappear and was completely gone by the start of my 3rd round. I could breathe a lot better, no longer needed oxygen, and I could eat and drink almost normal ( except that everything still tasted horrible).

I still got breathless pretty quickly, but not nearly as bad, and this I attribute to the clots slowly dissipating in my lungs, and the general weakness brought on by the chemo.

The Chemo killed all the cancer, which was what caused the awful fluid build up and the pleural effusion and being free of that is such a relief amidst all the other stresses we have to deal with.

So, have your lungs checked for clots! And I hope your Chemo can successfully destroy your cancer!

Best wishes,



They did a lung X-ray after removing drain but I did come into hospital with a undeliverable pain in back on other side by lungs and they were considering a clot then but ruled it out but I’m wondering. Sx


The clots are visible with a CT scan, so if they do a CT they should show up. I believe that anyone with Ovarian or Breast cancer should have daily Dalteparin Injections to prevent more clots.

Other reasons for breathlessness could be just plain weakness from the cancer or anaemia, if you are undergoing Chemo.


I’m not on cancer treatment at moment and it came on suddenly. I have fatigue befor but it’s different had to explain sx


It is the spreading cancer that usually causes the pleural effusion. What cancer did you have?

Have you had a CT scan recently?

My ovarian cancer came on rapidly. From one day to the next, I could hardly walk without wanting to faint. I took to my bed and could hardly walk to the toilet and back again.

My belly and rib cage swelled up like a beach ball, crushing my lungs and making the doctor's believe it had caused a lung infection and I wasn't treated right away for the blood clots, which were a major problem.

The fluid in my abdomen and chest cavity were an immediate alarm for cancer, so when I arrived in A&E with extreme shortness of breath, loose bowels, and weakness, they knew right away It was cancer.

I hope you have had a CT scan and not just an X-ray.

Good luck,



Hi Laura could not do a ct for blood clots as I’m allergic to the contrast. I have had one without and all fluid has build back up and so taken a little bit off again to see if I improve and as I did they are happy it is fluid causing the breathlessness. They are now looking at putting in a permenant drain.. sx


I had a pleural effusion in 2015. Was diagnosed at the end of 2007 had surgery and chemo. Was fine for nearly 5 years but have now had several recurrences treated with chemo. I had a drain for the effusion and they did talk about pleurodesis but fortunately the fluid resolved with chemo. I felt very weak and still a bit breathless wlhen I got out of hospital but it did get better after a week or so. MORAG


Thanks for your reply, perhaps I’m expecting to much to soon.


I had a pleural effusion, &I went into hospital 4 days before initial debunking surgery so it could be drained. After surgery I was given a gadget by a physiotherapist to help me expand my lung better


I did ask about any exercises but dr never came back to me. But that’s interesting. Thank you sx


Hi Sharon sorry to hear you are having a tough time, I have mets on R lung, I have shortness of breath which has been a problem since 1st round of chemo in 2012. No fluid problems. Hope you are feeling better and look forward to a meet up this year. Love Bridie xx


This is Laura. Curious about you still having shortness if breath, as I am 4 weeks after debulking surgery with no chemo for over a month, no visible tumours left, and the blood clots nearly resolved, but I am still short of breath and tire easily.

Starting last rounds of chemo tomorrow, and I know I will be weaker again, but is the shortness of breath something that lasts forever?

I was a ball of fire before I got sick, but now I am a weakling.


Hi Laura breathlessness appears to beside effect of chemo, I have had 4 rounds of chemo over 5 years. I finished last chemo end of Jan.2016 now taking Letrozole, I am 74 years young and coping with health issues so trying to get used to a not so active normal. I use ventolin inhaler which helps. Hopefully once you have finished chemo and can increase activity and your bloods are back to normal you will feel better. Love Bridie


The fatigue can cause breathlessness but in this particular case the breathlessness is caused by a build up fluid in the chest that is caused by the cancer


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